Computer Questions


If you would like to ask a computer question, or answer one, you may do so here. Also any information relevant to computers that can be considered helpful can go here.

Talk Topics to date

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Laptop Coolers - are they necessary?
Proxies to circumvent blocked websites
Removal of Malware, security software, reformatting
Spilled liquid onto laptop, slightly malfunctioning
Refurbished computer equipment: good buy, or too risky?
Sluggish laptop - worth the memory upgrade?
Hardware questions - power to Usb's?


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2009-05-19 15:34:10   Laptop coolers: gimmick or gotta-have? —TheAmazingLarry

It mostly depends on how you're planning to use it. In my opinion a general rule of thumb is. If it's feeling really hot it's better to err on the side of safety and spend the small amount of money to get the cooler. Better safe than sorry. —James Curtis Computing Solutions

2009-05-19 17:21:32   Hi, Hope this a considered a computer question: Does anyone know of a proxy IP/site that will support viewing vids on YouTube without the annoying notice that says I need to change my java script settings? I am in China and YouTube is blocked right now along with a bunch of other sites....Thanks! —jsbmeb

Update: I was able to get through from what Nick told me. Thanks!- jsbmeb

2009-05-21 11:27:44   I've got an old laptop, an IBM Thinkpad T42. It's been a pretty stable commuting workhorse for me. Recently, I slipped up and took in a ton of cruel malware. (Was streaming episodes of "The Office" online, followed a bad link, and left my computer for an hour since I was at work - had a zillion things popped up when I came back). I've exhausted myself playing with the typical Adaware/Spybot/HijackThis/Combofix, and for the first time, I'm stumped. Usually I can fix it up after a few days of annoying reboots and scans and digging through my registry. I'm sure if I keep going specifically with HJT and Combofix I could clear my computer, but it seems that some of them just keep slipping back, and I'm losing the willpower to devote an entire weekend to sitting in front of it. I've got a backup external harddrive, but I'm concerned about compromising it, or my current flash drive, so I bought a new 8gig flash drive (I guess so I can keep it quarantined). I'm planning to copy over my pictures and documents, and simply reformat the laptop. It's been over two years since I reformatted it, so it's about due anyway. However, I'm concerned over how effective this will be. If I really got something nasty, it's possible (and has been known) to come back, but I doubt I have a boot sector virus, just good ole fashioned shiny new trojans and malware. Any advice? Any knowledge, anyone? My biggest concern is that I haven't backed up my documents and most importantly my pictures in a few months, so I really don't want to lose those. As far as I can tell, I'm not having virus trouble, just some really sneaky trojan/malware tidbits strongly hidden. —ES

* Final update on my situation: During the above thread, I was waiting for the mailman to deliver my USB stick and copies of the XP/install CD's. Once they all arrived, the situation had worsened. I hadn't touched the laptop for a week, on first boot tried to log in and got a weird loop, even in safemode (would type in password, hit enter, logging in...logging out, need to re-enter password). After a few attempts, the computer refused to load! It would load up almost as normal (again, even in safemode) but by the time you get to the normal login screen, the screen would go black. Stuck! I booted from the XP disks, tried to repair the install, checked a few things out (userinit.exe), and basically reinstalled windows over the current install (without formatting). Was able to finally log in. Crappily enough, the computer now refused to recognize my USB flash drives. When plugged in, I'd see the "Xyx Flash Stick Brand Blah is connected!" but couldn't access it (or any of my drives). Couldn't figure this one out either. Luckily, I had backed up some stuff more recently than I thought, so I ended up burning 6 or 7 CDs full of data/duplicates. Then I reformatted, reinstalled, spent forever patching it up (didn't have an original driver disk for this laptop), and finally, it was as good as new. Reinstalled a few essential programs, including an anti-virus program and some anti-malware stuff, transferred all my data back, etc. It was a hell of an annoying trip. TL;DR - booted from XP cd, tried to repair install, burned data to disks, reformatted/reinstalled, good as new. I really want to just buy a new laptop, but if I wait a year maybe a training grant will cover me for it <.< -ES

2009-05-25 14:47:36   I have an older Dell laptop onto which someone dumped a cup of water. This happened about a month ago, and I'm pretty sure it has completely dried out now. But it still has two problems: (1) sometimes when it starts up, instead of loading Windows, it shows a black screen with white text saying "Exception..." and a bunch of codes. And, (2) when it does load Windows, it is often the case that user input is slightly screwy — for example, when you click a bookmark folder in Firefox, all the bookmarks in that folder are loaded into a single page at once. Or, when you click on something on the desktop, it selects multiple things instead of just one. It is as though the shift or ctrl keys are always down (but note that this only happens some of the time that the computer is on, not always). What could be the problem here? And what can I do to fix it? —TheAmazingLarry

2009-06-16 08:04:40   Advice on buying refurb computers? —TheAmazingLarry

I once received a refurb Kensington trackball because the one I had bought was defective. Except the trackball had had its finish *sanded* off! So I called and complained that I had bought a new one and this was what they gave me. So they sent me another. Same problem. Then one day I came home and found two new ones to replace each of the two refurbs! Apple's refurbs carry the same warranty as new products. They take returns or defective products, replace defective parts, test them to the same standards as their new products, and ship them. I'm not positive that they will look as nice as new ones - it may be that they don't replace casings with scratches and such. I would avoid the ones at Fry's. Seriously. They are known for repackaging defective products in new shrink wrap. —IDoNotExist

2009-07-14 18:22:28   My laptop(hp ze2000) which is a few years old is very sluggish at times. In response to a virus invasion I rebooted the hard drive, but that didn't seem to help. I am a photographer and use Photoshop, but I store all my photos on a portable drive. I was thinking of getting more RAM, I currently have 384 MB, but a friend of mine said that he did this and it didn't speed up his computer at all. I also frequently get the message that my virtual memory is low and my computer is increasing the size of it (whatever that means). What I'm wondering is, is it worth it to diagnose and/or upgrade my current computer or is it time to just buy a new one? Also, if I do get a new one, are macs better? —MRathje

Windows Me —MRathje

Yes, I erased it and reinstalled Windows so I think that got rid of the viruses. I have AVG antivirus on it as well.—MRathje

Are you sure you did a clean install, or did you do a repair? Before you upgrade your memory I would suggest running these two tools. [WWW] and [WWW] Download and run those and see if they help (make sure you run the registry cleaner portion of CCleaner). If that does not help try opening the programs that you normally run when it is sluggish and then open Windows Task Manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del). Once that opens go the the "Performance" tab. There should be a bar that says "Memory". This is telling you how much memory your system is currently using. If the bar is high (probably more than half way) then there is a good chance that upgrading memory could help you with your problem. However, if the bar is remaining relatively low and your computer is still sluggish then adding more ram will probably not help you out much. Of course Ram is cheap so you could always try to add more ram at this point and hops it works. If after adding more ram your computer is still slow I would recommend you take it into a professional or look into buying a new PC. —jlc1988

2010-12-24 "21:17:40   Hardware question —mathewblake I have a really stupid question but its got me baffled. I went and did a super quick clean on the fan assembly. Really easy yea thats what i thought. Now from what i can tell the panels for the usb's and the monitor cord, audio cables (front and back) have no power. but when i plug in a flash drive its blinks once for a quick second and then all dark. on top of that the ethernet cable has a green light that still comes on. i have checked all the cables making sure none of them came undone in the process of the cleaning but hell i used canned air for 90% and qtips for the other 10% so if you guys have an idea of what it could be that would be awesome.—mathewblake

yes i did unplug the fans there happens to be two other than the one in the power box and im sure i plugged those back in the correct spot i know this because the come on when i turn the computer on. I have no idea what it could be i checked the plugs on everything. But like i said above the ethernet light comes on and just the monitor mouse and keyboard dont work along with the flash on the any portable drive i plug in. —mathewblake

2011-11-06 06:52:44   I have a question: After I turned my laptop off last night, all the desktop icons on my macbook have vanished except the harddrive icon when I turned it on this morning. I can find my desktop items if I go to the folder in Finder. My iTunes account also started as brandnew until I used some prompts. I would also get the pinwheel of death a lot when I was using safari until I started backing up with time machine, after I did, it got better. I was also told that the pinwheeel of death can mean my harddrive is failing. Is this weird issue with the icons vanishing also a symptom? (I know my macbook is getting old) What do you think? Any help is much appreciated! I think I'm going to go to the Mac group myg at the seniot center next week if needed....
MacBook2.1 Version: 10.5.8 Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2 GHz (Snow leopard)

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